It’s not over until it’s over as the Mayor of Delta actually said that the overbuilt overpriced ten lane Massey bridge would be less harmful to the Fraser River than a tunnel. Of course the Mayor of Delta also referred to the disaster scenario about an earthquake and a tunnel, something that is being continually trotted out as the reason that an overbuilt, single occupant vehicle friendly ten lane bridge with no rapid transit provision is good for us as a region. There’s a 14,000 page study done by the previous Provincial government, and of course the very limited no option “open house” workshops on the project which we are told were “very positive” for a new bridge.
In an interview with the CBC, the Mayor of Delta was asked if there was any way she could support a tunnel. “Not unless I became a non-environmentalist,” said Jackson, adding she’s concerned about the impact expanding the tunnel would have on the Fraser River’s marine environment…We’re a huge hub here for transportation nationally, provincially and locally. There’s two million containers coming into the port every year and we’re the hub of all that.” So without meaning to, we are reminded about the Province’s agenda to keep shipping moving across and up the Fraser River which of course is a primary reason for this huge multi-billion dollar boondoogle in the first place. The bridge is in the wrong place for the future development of this region, something that the rest of the Mayors’ Council of Metro Vancouver has continually stated to the Province to no avail. The proposed bridge would aid the further degradation and industrialization of the Fraser River estuary and foreshore. While the Delta Mayor mentions that the First Nations would be upset at any compromise to fishing habitat, there was no mention of the lack of consultation with the Musqueam First Nations, who have claim to the river bank territory that the bridge piers and industrialization would compromise.
A letter from Douglas Massey published in the Delta Optimist takes direct issue with many of the statements being made about the Massey tunnel:
“1. It is not a beat up old tunnel; it is a tunnel whose maintenance has been ignored.
2. The proper lighting together with ceramic tile has been botched from day one.
3. Traffic control to avoid changing of lanes within the tunnel has been non-existent.
4. No attempt has been made to require the port to open for container truck movements 24/7 to ease the rush hour traffic or even request it schedule truck movements to avoid rush hour.
5. Why did the former Liberal minister of transportation advocate that another tunnel just upriver was the best alternative and that the George Massey Tunnel was good for another 50 years?
6. Why is the City of Rotterdam spending $376 million to upgrade the Maas River Tunnel this year, a tunnel that was constructed 16 years before the George Massey Tunnel using the same type of materials and design? The Liberals have stated it would cost $45 million to bring the tunnel up to today’s safety requirements. Would this not be money well spent? It would also eliminate the requirement to remove the BC Hydro lines from the tunnel at a cost of $67 million.”
All good questions. For a multi-billion dollar expenditure, let’s hope we can get a transparent, non biased review.